Will it be more work? Yes, absolutely. Will you have more to do when you get home than if you would have just stayed home? More than likely. Will it be worth it? You bet it will!
Taking time for ourselves is always worth it- no matter how much extra work we have when we get home. Escaping, taking a break, not having anyone need us or asking us questions, climbing on us, asking us to read the same book for the hundredth time, needing help going to the bathroom, climbing on stuff, etc. is always worth taking a break from. Your break might be going out for a pedicure. Your break might be lunch out with a friend. Or, maybe your break is wine tasting, or a trip to the gym by yourself without dealing with the childcare there. Whatever it is, your self-care and your break are worth it. You are worth it. You are worth all the time and effort it requires to get away from it all, even just for a little bit.
Yesterday, I took the day off. Shocking, right? I went to my parents’ house to work for two hours in silence. Like without anyone interrupting me. Then, my mom and I went out to lunch with a friend. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? A meal that doesn’t require any preparing or clean up. And, at a restaurant WITHOUT kids. Eating a meal without rushing, while it’s still warm… Sounds mighty relaxing. But, that’s not all we did. We went wine tasting. Yup. We actually got stemmed glasses and sat down and had people wait on us, serving us wine while we enjoyed a nice view.
Not long after we sat down overlooking the beautiful vineyard and valley, the lady at the table next to us said that two little people might be running by us. Immediately, this caught my attention because she said “little people” and not everyone uses that phrase. It also meant this winery was a friendly family atmosphere, which you don’t always find at wineries (and, even without kids, that’s much more my style). I told her something to the effect of: no worries, they’re not my little ones, so not my problem. And, I meant it. I didn’t care what somebody else’s little ones were doing because they weren’t mine and weren’t something I needed to tend to (the kids only ran by once, so we hardly noticed they were there).
We sat and sampled wine, had cheese, of course, and some chocolate too. Oh, and the car ride to and from? Simply blissful. No one needed a snack or to stop and use the potty. There weren’t 50 questions. I wasn’t trying to retrieve something that they dropped and “needed.” We could simply unbuckle our seat belts and get in and out of the car and close the door in 30 seconds or less (not that it’s a race, but you know getting kids in and out of the car takes a lot longer than that). Amazing!
Did I miss my kids? Honestly, maybe a little. But, not much. And not all day long. Does that make me a bad mother? I hope not. But, if it does, oh well. We all need a break now and then, and they were in good hands. If you’ve ever stayed home with little ones for any length of time, you know that there’s always something to tend to. There’s no sitting down and relaxing, at least not for more than a few minutes. It’s like kids have a radar that tells them you finally sat down, or are trying to enjoy a warm beverage, hot meal, or even take a quick shower. So, does it make me a bad person or less of a mother to want to get away from that all, even if it was just for the day? No. It doesn’t. It makes me human. I’m not superwoman and being “on” and the “go to” parent/person and “in charge” ALL the time gets tiring. They say teachers make more decisions quicker than air traffic controllers. Well, thank goodness I had all that time in the classroom to prepare me for stay-at-home motherhood because the questions and decision making are endless!
It was a great time away. I was gone for about seven hours, and when I got home, it was like I had never left. They met me in the garage, excited that I was home. Just like when her daddy comes home, Amelia told me a little bit of what they did, as SOON as I got out of the car. Hugs and kisses galore. The dogs wouldn’t leave me alone because they were so thrilled I was home. It was like I was a celebrity at a premier, but I guess I kind of am in my own home.
My husband told me how there’s no point in cleaning up the playroom during the day, as he’s done it several times, “and you can’t even tell.” 😏He told me he tried to clean all the floors (sweeping and mopping), but he only got the vacuuming done because Buddy Boy wasn’t napping well. Then, I heard about how, after they went to visit his grandparents, he fed the kids fast food for lunch, which wasn’t his finest moment at all, but he didn’t think they’d last (i.e., stay awake) until he got home, and it was better than nothing. All the while, I was silently just laughing and smiling in my head. And realized I hadn’t been home more than 3 minutes. Talk about being bombarded when you walk in the door!
Finally, it seems like MAYBE he knew, or had a little insight as to what it’s like to stay home with the kids all day. Although my days are usually 14-ish hours before he gets home, so they are twice as long, he still saw a little bit of what we do and go through each day.
Another thing I noticed is that, while he tried to be helpful and get stuff done, he really didn’t accomplish much during the day (aside from keeping the littles alive, of course! And a few other tasks). I’m hoping that gives him a little insight as to how challenging it can be to clean the house, and do simple tasks like that with two little ones.
While I have a TON more work to do today, the day after I took a day off, it was worth it. Yes, the house is a mess today. And embarrassing mess. But, it was worth it. You know how there are stages of “messy”? Clean. A little messy. A bit messy. Messy. VERY messy. Disgustingly messy? Well, we’re at the point that the clutter has got to go! But, even with more to do today than normal, it was worth it. I got to spend uninterrupted time with my mom and a friend, I got to relax, I got to just be an adult. No one would’ve known that I have two little ones at home if we didn’t tell them. Even the guy pouring our wine (don’t they have a title?) joked that I would be there until 9 o’clock, since I had “escaped.” He feigned surprise when we were leaving around four, which was just before they closed for the day. He invited us back, saying I could bring the kids, and, if they ran out of things to do, he’d be more than willing to let them wash his car. How nice!
Yes, I have a lot of work to do today to get the house to be clean and livable, a lot more than I would’ve had if I would’ve stayed home yesterday, but I wouldn’t of had fun, by myself relaxing, and hanging out with adults, just as an adult, not Connie, the mom. Of course, I didn’t expect the house to be spotless or even clean when I got home because I know how difficult it is for me to do, so I can’t expect somebody who doesn’t do it regularly to be as successful as I am, because, let’s admit it- some days, it’s a challenge, even for me to do more than just keep the Littles alive.
So, moms, please take time for yourself. Going to the grocery store alone might feel like a break because you’re not lugging kids around with you, it might be relaxing, and seem like you’re getting some alone time, but that’s not a true break. Do something that’s purely for you. If that’s wandering through Target by yourself, fine. Getting a facial, massage, mani/pedi, great. Going to the doctor by yourself? Not so much. Of course, that’s better than taking the kids, but it’s not a break. It’s not being selfish, neglecting your kids or family, or anything else negative. It’s not a sign of weakness. Taking time for yourself, taking a true break, is called self-care. It’s a necessary part of life. Please make time for it regularly. Your family will thank you for it (even if they don’t verbally say it) when you come back rejuvenated and relaxed.
Dads and significant others (or the non-“go to” parent), please make sure that you’re supportive of this. Your child(ren)’s mom deserves this. It’s exhausting being the “go to” parent, the one who is always answering questions, who the kids go to first. For stay-at-home moms/dads, “working” (being “on” without a break or true duty and interruption-free time off) 24/7 is simply tiring. It’s easy to get used to it, and become worn down by it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy thing to do. Imagine if you didn’t have set work hours. Or, if you didn’t have a dedicated lunch time (and, maybe you don’t) or if you didn’t get to leave work at the end of your day/shift. That’s somewhat what it’s like being a stay-at-home parent. While it might not be possible to give the “go to” parent time “off” each day, strive for at least once a week, and if not, a few times a month for longer periods of time. The time and effort it takes to make this happen is worth it. I promise. Have a blissful day! And, try to do something, at least one thing for yourself today. Even if you’re surrounded by kids.